Detailed Accident Report
Submitted By: Russ Johnson, Squaw Valley Ski Patrol
Place: Backcountry; Between Squaw and Alpine
Summary: 2 skiers caught, buried, and killed
Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue
Out of Bounds - Between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows
Submitted by Steve Reynaud, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue
Two local teens skied out of bounds in a closed area from Squaw Valley between 11:30-3pm on February 21, 2001. Both of the teens were familiar with the terrain and had skied it often. They skied into the West Gully which funnels down to Alpine Meadows Road.
The West Gully is a prominent slide path that regularly hits Alpine Meadows Road. The slope is South East facing and the starting zones are around 35 degrees.
Storm snow was approximately 20 inches and winds out of the SSW in the 40-50 mph range and gusts to 60-70mph.
The snow most likely slid on a sun crust that had developed before the storm during warm sunny conditions. The starting zone was approximately 100 ft. wide and funneled into a gully that was 10-20 ft. wide, no crown was visible. The path ran 300 vertical feet and was considered a Class II avalanche.
Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team began a search at 10pm on 2/21.
Heavy snow and winds covered up some of the clues, but the slide debris was found at midnight and scuff searched. No evidence was found in the debris and the search moved into different areas. In the morning, with the help of Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol, dogs were used in the debris in the West gully with no results. Late morning, Tahoe Nordic SAR returned to the West Gully and began probing. The debris in the gully reached depths of 8 ft. Both bodies were found at 11:30am (2/22) buried 5-6 ft. deep and 40 ft. above the toe of the debris.The bodies were within 3 ft. of each other. Evidence suggests the boys skied into the gully together resulting in the failure of the wind slab carrying them into the enclosed terrain trap.
Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol, Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and Placer County Sheriffs Dept. were all involved in the search effort.
U.S. Ski Team News Bureau
Monday, Feb. 26, 2001
Contact: Tom Kelly, 435.647.2010
Far West Racers Mourned
SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. (Feb. 26)- The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
is mourning the loss of two of its most promising USSA Far West racers.
Brendan Allan and Bryan Richmond, both members of the Squaw Valley Ski
Team, were killed in an avalanche Thursday.
The two racers, both 17, died while skiing in the back country behind
the KT22 lift at Squaw. Both were highly competitive racers who loved to
ski -- both on the course and off. They were making the last run of the
day when they were caught in a large avalanche triggered by heavy wet
There will be a memorial gathering at The Resort at Squaw Creek, next to
Squaw Valley Ski area, Tues., Feb. 27 at 5:00 p.m. In place of floral
gifts, the families prefers donations to a newly established trust
The Brendan Allan and Bryan Richmond Memorial Junior Ski Racing Fund
Tahoe City, CA 96145.
"This is a big loss for the families and for our USSA Far West program,"
said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. "These were young men who truly
loved skiing and the sport of ski racing."
Both were top-ranked skiers with strong finishes in last year's Junior
Olympics (Junior 2 age category). In last year's JO's, Allan finished
sixth in super G, seventh in slalom, eighth in downhill, and ninth in
giant slalom. Richmond was sixth in downhill and slalom, and seventh in
super G. Both were invited to and attended Western Region camps in the
summer and fall this season as first-year junior 1 age category racers.